The “Belt” is supposed to consist of three land-based silk roads. The “One Road,” actually, is on water, which is a Maritime Silk Road.
China’s push to create new trade and infrastructure links through its “One Belt, One Road” initiative will be hampered by Beijing’s reluctance to open up investment for foreign companies, according to experts.
The strategy spearheaded by President Xi Jinping seemed to be incompatible with China’s preference for “one-way” globalisation and assertive policies in Southeast Asia, particularly on maritime routes in the South China Sea, experts said at the Oxford China Forum held in the University of Oxford over the weekend.
Spanning over 60 countries, this massive project will spread an interconnected network of rail lines, highways, pipelines and logistics zones from China to Europe, covering a potential market that includes more than half of the population, 75 per cent of the known energy resources, and 40 per cent of gross domestic product in the world.
It has been estimated that this emerging network could be pumping out upwards of US$2.5 trillion of annual trade value by 2025.
As of 2015, China announced that over one trillion yuan ($160 billion US) of infrastructure projects were in planning or construction. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has an authorized capital of $100 billion, 75% of which will come from Asian and Oceanian countries. The Silk Road fund has 40 billion USD.
Since the middle of last year, close observation showed that new officials are being promoted within China. Xi is repositioning loyalists and those who will become loyal to him so as to govern with a firmer hand in his second five-year term in office.